Room to Grow : Squash blooms, but no ...

Room to Grow : Squash blooms, but no fruit

There are 27 comments on the www.nwanews.com story from May 24, 2009, titled Room to Grow : Squash blooms, but no fruit. In it, www.nwanews.com reports that:

Squash plants produce both female and male flowers on the same plant. So for adequate pollination to occur, both flower types must be present simultaneously in order for insect pollinators, such as bees, to do their work. Squash flowers open early in the morning and close around noon the same day. If pollen from a male flower is unavailable or if local pollinizers (bees) are not present, then fruit set on the female flower will not occur. This often results in tiny squash fruits, which are actually swollen ovaries, falling off the plant with the spent, unfertilized female flower.

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Rookie Gardener

United States

#1 Jun 15, 2009
My squash looks very healthy, but there are no blooms. A neighbor suggested that they were planted too close together and will end up being nothing but big bushes with no squash. Surely there is something I can do to remedy this situation. Or am I impatient? Thank you for your assistance, fellow gardeners.
Pepsi

Buffalo, NY

#2 Jun 16, 2009
It takes about 10 weeks from sprouting for the blossoms to begin showing up, AFAIK. How big are your plants?

They work on growing before they work on fruiting. It's early in the season yet.
donna

AOL

#3 Jun 24, 2009
I have beautiful plants with lots of blooms and one to two inch squash , but the end blooms starts to dry up and the undeveloped squash dries up and falls off, What's my problem?
Rookie Gardener

United States

#4 Jun 24, 2009
Thanks, Pepsi. I think I took the well-meaning neighbors comments too seriously...about it just being a big beasty plant with no yield. I chose to picture it as healthy & yielding much fruit. I tended my squash, nurtured it and sang to it. Yes....plants like attention, just like people. It has now begun to flower and the first little squash has now made an appearance! I think I just needed a little patience and a positive attitude.

“Ding dong, Wacko's DEAD”

Since: Mar 08

Location hidden

#5 Jun 24, 2009
donna wrote:
I have beautiful plants with lots of blooms and one to two inch squash , but the end blooms starts to dry up and the undeveloped squash dries up and falls off, What's my problem?
They're not being fertilized. Or not fertilized ENOUGH. Try hand pollinating them.

A Master Gardener told me that a blossom can be fertilized but not fertilized enough to yield fruit. Apparently every seed in the potential fruit has to be fertilized by pollen. If not enough pollen makes it into the blossom and to the seeds then Mother Nature says "this isn't a viable fruit" and lets it die and fall off the vine rather than expend energy on a bad fruit.

“Ding dong, Wacko's DEAD”

Since: Mar 08

Location hidden

#6 Jun 24, 2009
Rookie Gardener wrote:
Thanks, Pepsi. I think I took the well-meaning neighbors comments too seriously...about it just being a big beasty plant with no yield. I chose to picture it as healthy & yielding much fruit. I tended my squash, nurtured it and sang to it. Yes....plants like attention, just like people. It has now begun to flower and the first little squash has now made an appearance! I think I just needed a little patience and a positive attitude.
Glad they are finally blooming. Another last-resort trick is to spade around the plant deep enough to sever some roots. That makes the plant send energy upwards instead of putting all the energy into root growth. This will sometimes make a reluctant plant bloom. Or so I'm told. I can't say I've ever tried it but it seems like a sound idea.
help my squash

United States

#7 Jul 16, 2009
how do u self fertilize the blooms on the plant. I have finally seen a bee today but it is after the bloom has closed. if it's not the deer it's the ga grasshoppers or lots of blooms that fall off or little squash. now i have little black bugs.

“Ding dong, Wacko's DEAD”

Since: Mar 08

Location hidden

#8 Jul 17, 2009
help my squash wrote:
how do u self fertilize the blooms on the plant. I have finally seen a bee today but it is after the bloom has closed. if it's not the deer it's the ga grasshoppers or lots of blooms that fall off or little squash. now i have little black bugs.
Bugs fertilize plants, too. So do grasshoppers. Anything that moves from bloom to bloom will fertilize it but some bugs will kill the plant. You'll have to research which ones are the bad ones and don't kill them indiscriminately.

But you can do it, too. I do it every morning (the blooms are only open for a few hours each morning) with a soft bristle water-color brush.

First you have to know the difference between a male and female blossom.(The unfertilized fruit is behind the female blossom; the male blossoms are the ones on the long, thin stalks.) Find a male blossom and tickle the stamen with your brush. You will pick up lots of pollen. Then go to the female blossom and gently brush the pollen over the stigma (center cluster).

Or, in a pinch, take the male blossom off, tear the petals away gently and then touch it to the center of the female blossom.

There has to be enough pollen deposited to fertilize the fruit. Each piece of pollen has to fertilize a seed inside the fruit or the plant will not allow the fruit to grow.(So only use 1:1 when fertilizing.)

A good book to read is GOURDS IN YOUR GARDEN by Ginger Summit.
Terry

Springfield, IL

#9 Jul 31, 2009
I have a pattypan plant that is getting some female blooms I think....it looks like there is a little squash on it but the bloom isn't opening. Why would that be?

“Ding dong, Wacko's DEAD”

Since: Mar 08

Location hidden

#10 Jul 31, 2009
Terry wrote:
I have a pattypan plant that is getting some female blooms I think....it looks like there is a little squash on it but the bloom isn't opening. Why would that be?
Hmmm... maybe it's not time yet? Are the blooms dying without opening? Or do they look the same every day? The unsuccessful ruit will fall off eventually if the bloom opens and goes unfertililzed.

They are open only a few hours each morning. Are you perhaps not seeing them when they are open? The blossoms open with sunrise and by 11 they are usually closing again, in my experience. And I'm not positive but it seems to me that they also close after they are fertilized so they may only be open VERY briefly if you have lots of insect activity in your garden.

I go out at 5:30 a.m. every morning and there are already bees in every blossom, working away.
Terry

Springfield, IL

#11 Jul 31, 2009
What do I do if my plant has white mildewy spots on the leaves?

Thanks from
St. Louis
Susan

Kitchener, Canada

#13 Jul 31, 2009
My Plants blooms ,grows about inch or two and falls off. I tried to polynate flower with a flower from another plant. No luck.

Wonder how to identify male -female flower!

“Ding dong, Wacko's DEAD”

Since: Mar 08

Location hidden

#14 Jul 31, 2009
Susan wrote:
My Plants blooms ,grows about inch or two and falls off. I tried to polynate flower with a flower from another plant. No luck.
Wonder how to identify male -female flower!
If the fruit is falling off without growing, it wasn't fertilized.

What sort of plants are you talking about?

Google will help you find illustrations of blossoms so you can learn the difference between male and female blooms. Some plants are harder than others but any bloom that has the fruit (or, technically, an unfertilized ovary) behind the bloom is a female.
Shari Vannorsdall

Fresno, CA

#15 Aug 20, 2009
I have squash plants that have tons of male blooms but no female...... whats up with that?

“Ding dong, Wacko's DEAD”

Since: Mar 08

Location hidden

#16 Aug 21, 2009
Shari Vannorsdall wrote:
I have squash plants that have tons of male blooms but no female...... whats up with that?
Everyone seems to be having that problem this year for some reason. Maybe that plants are trying to placate the honey bees.:)

Have you clipped the foreward runners so the plant stops growing and gets down to producing? Times running out. Snip them today and hope that there's still time to produce fruit before the season is over.
Shari Vannorsdall

Fresno, CA

#17 Aug 21, 2009
Thank you so much I will get out there today and do that thanks so much
Deb

Colorado Springs, CO

#18 Aug 24, 2009
I have all male blossoms too. If I cut those off, will it set more female blossoms?

“Ding dong, Wacko's DEAD”

Since: Mar 08

Location hidden

#19 Aug 24, 2009
Deb wrote:
I have all male blossoms too. If I cut those off, will it set more female blossoms?
I might. What you want to do is stop the vine from working on growing LONGER and tell it's time to reproduce.

Make sure you check around under leaves, too. Sometimes those female blossoms are well hidden and all of a sudden you have a gourd where you didn't even see a flower.

I suddenly found a HUGE gourd where I never saw ANY blossoms. It was so well hidden that I didn't see it until it weighed so much it pulled the vine off the fence.
Deb

Colorado Springs, CO

#20 Aug 24, 2009
my plants are bush type so they are not getting longer, just kind of getting thicker as they grow up. I will try to remove most of the male flowers. Hope it works - the growing season here in Colorado is short.

“Ding dong, Wacko's DEAD”

Since: Mar 08

Location hidden

#21 Sep 7, 2009
Deb wrote:
my plants are bush type so they are not getting longer, just kind of getting thicker as they grow up. I will try to remove most of the male flowers. Hope it works - the growing season here in Colorado is short.
Sorry I'm late getting back to you -- I hope you're not removing male flowers. You need the male flowers for when a female flower arrives. You want to stop the VINE growth. Snip off the ends of the vines. And, yes, your season is at an end and it's almost hopeless now.

But remember this for next year: clip off the new VINE growth and to start the vine producing gourds instead of growing longer and longer.

I do have one snake gourd that's over 5' long this year. After I remembered to snip the vine growth, the vine produced two dozen little snake gourds almost overnight but they will not survive drying, most likely.

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